Analysis Of Sansad TV Discussion:
”Indigenous Weapon Technologies for the Indian Navy”
GS 3: Defence Technology, Indigenization of Technology
- With the restricted availability of critical weapons and sensor spares from Russia and denial of license to import critical components from other western countries, greater thrust is now being given to the indigenisation of critical systems of the Indian armed forces.
- Indigenous developments, in the case of weapon and sensor systems in the Indian Navy, are being undertaken through ab-initio design and development route is the call of the day in the current geopolitical situation. ‘Self-reliance’, ‘indigenisation’ and ‘Make in India’ have been the mantra of the Indian Navy for over five decades.
- The danger to our military modernisation, in the long run, is the very low fiscal and national commitment on R&D in these cutting edge disruptive technologies.
Latest Step on Indigenisation
- The latest decision taken by Defence Acquisition Council(DAC) held on 22 Mar 2022 approved “affecting” certain policy initiatives in the Defence Acquisition Procedure-2020 to accelerate the pace of indigenisation, achieve self-reliance in defence and facilitate the ease of doing business for the defence industry.
- One of the policy initiatives “effected” that modernisation requirements of defence forces are going to be indigenously sourced and imports are going to be resorted to only as an exception.
In-Line with Atamnirbhar Bharat Mission
- Keeping in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Atamnirbhar Bharat and industrial development (Make in India) initiatives, the Indian Navy has been at the forefront of indigenisation with a fully functional and dynamic Directorate of Indigenisation.
- Additionally, a Technology Development Acceleration Cell (TDAC) has been created under Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) to focus on innovation.
- The Navy as a customer, the designers of equipment & systems and the industry as a supplier has a clear understanding of the requirements and the plan for induction and indigenisation.
History of Indian Navy’s Indigenisation Journey
- The commitment to self-reliance in the Indian Navy (IN) came to the fore as early as 1961 with the commissioning of the first indigenous ship INS Ajay.
- Subsequently from the mid-’60s Navy embarked on the construction of the indigenously built Leander class Frigates on Transfer of Technology (ToT) from the Royal Navy.
What is NIIO & NTAC
- The Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation(NIIO) and Naval Technology Acceleration Council(NTAC) is a pragmatic initiative.
- Every month since the launch of the NIIO in 2020, on an average more than two IPR applications have been filed by naval personnel.
- Also, major initiatives towards Indigenisation include industry outreach which is conducted in different locations like — Coimbatore, Ahmedabad and Bhubaneswar.
- Undoubtedly, innovation, economics, a self-reliant and strong military industry are intertwined. NIIO through Technology Development Acceleration cell has been inducting emerging disruptive technology in an accelerated time frame.
What is being pursued by TDAC?
- Military applications emerging from the emerging disruptive technology, which is being pursued by TDAC, are cutting edge Science and Technology, which include robotics and autonomous unmanned systems, hypersonic, new undersea systems, AI, nanotechnology, EW, stealth metamaterials, information and large data analytics, cognitive neurosciences, quantum technology, additive manufacturing, 3D printing, energy and propulsion, directed energy weapon, and cyber capabilities.
- In addition to channelling in-house naval innovations, TDAC engages with the academia and the industry and an online monthly interaction with the industry in coordination with the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) have also been instituted.
The key to operational availability of Indian Navy’s fighting platforms is self-reliance. Accordingly, the Navy has setup the Directorate of Indigenisation and various other establishments to achieve this self-reliance in maintaining and supporting Navy’s vital assets through indigenous development. It has been established with the idea that indigenous development would be essential to overcome the existing problem of spiraling import costs of equipment and induction of indigenous systems and all new ships & submarines building projects.